Friday, October 10, 2014

My Babywearing Journey








    
     This is probably one of my favorite things I have ever written about. If you know me personally and have had a baby in the last 9 years, chances are, I've either talked to you about babywearing, made you a carrier or BOTH! =) I'm very passionate about it because, honestly, to me it's one of the secrets to being a happy parent!

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     Travel back with me 9 years from now and you'll meet a very pregnant first time mom, who like many new parents, signed up to take a childbirth class at the hospital. Providentially, I didn't have a teacher like many do who eschews all things natural and instinctual. I had a wonderful teacher, who encouraged me to strive for an unmedicated birth, to breastfeed my baby and to try babywearing! With my first son, I got a mainstream carrier but found it uncomfortable. I even wore my son on my back in it, but didn't find it supportive enough for either of us!






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I'm in no way advocating wearing this carrier in this way, it was uncomfortable and unsafe!






    
     That's when my mind started churning and I started to think, "Could I make a carrier that would work better?" After all, I tend to enjoy making things myself, and while I was pregnant I had taught myself to sew by making cloth diapers for my son.






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Why, yes, I did make that diaper myself! Thanks for asking! ;)

    
     So I started to search online and found thebabywearer.com forum and lots of helpful mamas and advice! This was before there were a million youtube videos on the subject and so many different brands of carriers that there are now! I made a Mei Tai first, which is a carrier that you tie shorter straps around your waist and them longer straps crossed over your back (or front) to tie the baby on to you.



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They are BOTH pretty cute if you ask me!




     This opened up a whole new world for me! The baby could be happy and content snuggled close to mom and I could get things done, or go on a walk! When my son was little, it was winter and we lived up North, we tried to take him on a walk in the cold in his stroller.



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On top of all this we still covered the whole stroller in a blanket!!



      When we got home the poor baby was freezing! Even under all that covering. I started to think I would just have to stay indoors until it got warm again and I thought I would go stir crazy! But then when I started babywearing, I realized I could put him in a carrier and then put a large coat around us both!
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After a long walk, see those rosy red cheeks?




    
      I even made a coat with a hole in the back of it, so I could wear him on my back as he got bigger and still take a walk in the cold.




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That is the face of a contented and toasty warm child right there....


     I started being asked a lot of questions during our local La Leche League Meetings about babywearing. Not wanting to take too much time away from talking about breastfeeding, I started a separate meeting for local moms to learn more about babywearing.


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Our first babywearing meeting!

     Why, you ask, did we become so passionate about a simple piece of cloth? Well let me tell you some of the things babywearing has done for us:
    • Its helped me bond with my children. Being close enough to kiss and smell your baby's head is therapeutic for mommy and hearing mom's heartbeat and smelling her unique smell, gives baby security as they transition to the outside world.

    • It's given me freedom. When other mom's waited with their bulky stroller in a line at the zoo, we were able to walk right in. And I never had to lift my children to see the animals, they were always at the perfect height already!





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      Babywearing at the Zoo!

      • It's allowed us to still enjoy the outdoors as we always have. We are a family who loves to hike a mountain, or go off the beaten path. We like to live life where no stroller dared go!


      

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      Babywearing in Acadia, ME






      • It's kept my hands free. Even though every stranger I meet still says "Boy! You've got your hands full!" (If you have multiple children, you understand) But seriously, it's allowed me to have my hands free for my other children, for opening the door, for making dinner, and even -once- for catching myself and preventing a serious injury to my baby and myself when I slipped on a wet floor!
       



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      My older son would be soaking wet in this family photo if not for babywearing ;)






           My advice to new moms? Learn how to babywear. Find a local group to get you started, if there isn't one, join one online and find out which videos are safest and best, then start your own local group!  My advice to more experienced moms? Babywearing still has something to offer you as well!




      
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      Babywearing at 8 months pregnant



           My advice to the skeptics? Don't knock what you haven't tried! Babywearing is incredibly safe if you take the time to learn how to do it right (just like putting your child in a crib, stroller, or swing- learn how to do it safely first!) And for what's it's worth? I have 4 children ages almost 9 on down- They all walked at a normal time, they all are happy independent children and they all SLEEP ALL NIGHT IN THEIR OWN BEDS. So don't tell me I've created needy or dependent children, because I may have a hard time keeping my sarcastic comment to myself!
      

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      Learning how to do it himself while being worn!


          
            And just think! You may be teaching the future generation how to be more compassionate and caring with your good example!!

      
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